Modern Marriage : The Biggest Myth About ‘Happily Ever After’

My best friend and my sister are getting married one month apart and it has been a superhectic time for all of us with lots of phone calls, arrangements, analysis and verbal dissections about every small thing related to the event. To summarize what we have been discussing, feeling and thinking, I have started this 5 part series on Modern Marriage, wherein I will upload weekly posts on different aspects of getting married and being married in India in today’s times - from my experiences and observations of the world around me. I do not know everything, but I will write what I know. Hope you enjoy reading this and will answer some of the questions lingering in your mind.

The biggest lie we have forever been fed since our childhood about the concept of ‘Happily Ever After’ was the idea that we were ‘Miserable Ever Before’. I mean look at Cinderella – the poor girl living with her evil step-mother until Prince Charming rescued her. Or closer home, Simran and her similar avatars who had to be pulled out of their miserable existences by a Raj/Rahul/Rohit – you get the hang of it. Every single popular story has a weak, vulnerable, sad woman whose life magically transforms once she meets her Knight in shining armour.

And that is where, most stories of marriage go downhill, right from the word, Go.

The first problem with the whole concept of ‘Happily Ever After’ is the idea that before we met our main man, well, we were poor, sad, little girls in need of a saviour. May be we had had bad relationships, or home front was not great or we had been struggling in our career, whatever it be. And we expect that we would receive the solution for all of our problems in that ‘one guy’ who would, just by his presence in our life, ‘make everything alright’ (too many songs with that phrase, no?). And that is why, when we do indeed meet the one we want to spend the rest of our lives with, we burden him with all of our negative load. We expect him to ‘make us happy’, he has to bring sunshine in our lives and if you are anywhere close to a movies-style romantic (like most of those influenced by popular culture, anyway), you want to ‘see’ his efforts manifest in tangible ways like chocolates, roses, surprises and romantic holidays to exotic locales. And if you do not have social media-worthy experiences, well, the guy isn’t good enough.

Darlings, please understand, marriage is not about finding someone to ‘make you happy’. If you have any kind of problems in your life right now, you are the only hero you need to ‘make it alright’.

I have seen my fair share of failures, sorrows and disappointments in all aspects of life – but when I decided to get married, I was above and beyond all of that. I was in a very peaceful frame of mind when I took the decision to marry and whom to marry. I married when I was sure I wanted to get married, not because I had to or because it was the only way out to paradise. I had faith in myself that whatever problems I had been facing in my life, I did not need a man to solve them, I was good enough on my own. I married my husband because he was an amazing man and I was happy to share my life with him. Hence, when I face challenges in my life now, I do not blame my husband for them or expect him to solve them. Yes, good advice and support is always welcome, but the outcome is not entirely dependent on him. I have to get off my ass and make things going wrong, go right – be it career, home or people.  

So, dear girls, this is what I have to ask you, kindly do humanity the favour:

Do not marry, if you are looking for your man to solve all your problems.
Do not marry him, if you are sad in your life and a man is your only hope.
Do not marry even for the sake of getting married.
Marry because you are happy in your own space and are excited to share a life – the good and bad - with someone you like.
Marry because being married is about being a team. And you want the relationship to be of equals and not of a knight and a damsel in distress.
Marry because you believe in the institution of marriage.

It is ok to not marry, if you don’t.

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